gig economy

What is Gig Economy and how is it taking shape in India

In India, there are nearly 3 million Gig workers, and 56% of new employment is created by the world of Gig economy. Every month close to 1 million Indians áre entering this ecosystem of the labor market.

A 2017 Ernst and Young study on the “Future of Jobs in India” even found that 24% of the world’s gig workers come from India.

Daily, less than 2% of Indian’s who apply for jobs get them. And the economy is slowing down. The gig economy seems to emerge as a strong factor. Read More

These very big numbers and stated facts make it interesting to know more about what is Gig economy and how will it be shaping the future of Indian employment.

What is the Gig Economy?

The gig economy is an eco-system of gig workers who provide their services on a contractual basis to the consumers in exchange for money.

Gig Economy can be defined as the work culture including three categories:

1. The consumer or service seeker who is in demand for the specified work or service.

2. The service provider or the Gig Worker who provides the service- Gig workers include freelancers, Contractual workers, Short term workers, part-time workers, project-based workers, and self-employed.

3. The tech-enabled platforms that connect both the Gig workers and seekers. Few of the categories are, Food delivery services – Uber eats, Swiggy, Zomato, etc., Transportation services – Ola, Uber, Jugnoo, etc., Ed-tech platforms – Preply, Vedantu, Byjus etc., Freelance websites: Ekprice, Upwork, Etc., E-commerce platforms – Amazon, Flipkart, etc.,

The gig workers get paid for the specific task they perform than a fixed salary, unlike a full-time permanent employee. Thus, freelancing or task-based economy can be termed as Gig economy.

Benefits of the gig economy are leading to an evolution of workforce culture:

Freedom for the choice of work, place, time, additional income, advent in technology, Gig economy provides utmost flexibility to the labor to be their boss. An increase in the adaption of smartphones and digitalization enables freelancers to provide their services through various platforms. With the rising costs and masses seeking employment, the gig economy opens doors for additional income and the increase in education and tech level is further empowering this ecosystem in the future.

The digital gig economy generated a gross volume of around $202 bn from worldwide customers in 2018. Transportation itself contributed 50% of this value. India has emerged as the 5th largest country for contractual work. Due to the cost-cuts and skillful workforce, the firms are shrinking in size and there is a rise in the startups which prefer more service providers on a contractual basis and freelancers.

Thus, the gig economy work culture is a win-win situation for both service seekers and providers.

Developing countries like India have great potential to adopt the gig economy due to the expanding supply of freelancers and low-skilled labor. With the tech advent, an increase in human resources, and emerging economies, India will grow in the world gig economy at an accelerating rate.

Few business models related to the gig economy emerging in India:

Freelancing websites: Websites like Ekprice, Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, etc., provides a platform for freelancers to display various services falling in their niche. These platforms work under several terms and conditions for the fair usage of the platform but it does not guaranty providing additional support service to the seekers. The services vary like, web development, writing, graphics, voice-overs, legal work, data typing, virtual assistance, designing, finance, editing, digital marketing, etc.,

Digital Marketplace: This includes sign-up demand-driven services like beauty, fitness, plumbing, repairs, home-salon, etc., The gig workers are skilled in their interested niche and offer a contractual service to the consumer based on orders placed. To place the order the consumer has to simply use apps like Urbanclap, Helpr, etc., With the platform being an intermediary, there is an assurance of service provision and smooth work-flow. Also, the platform provides good customer-care service and after-sale services. The apps are integrated with maps and other features for accurate place visits and automated work-flow. According to the t&c’s the gig workers can directly communicate with the end user directly through the app.

Asset sharing platforms: This business model engages gig workers to offer services like transportation, delivery, and accommodation. It allows for low-cost asset sharing than ownership. This has added a lot to improve the living standards of people and comfort. A few of the examples are Uber, Ola, OYO, Airbnb, Grofers, etc.,

India’s Gig Economy is going to be the future of work for millions of women:

A lot of Ed-tech platforms like Vedantu, Preply, Unacademy, Byju’s, etc., also offers part-time jobs as instructors., while most women are seen to empower themselves by taking these opportunities of work from home with the flexibility ON. Read more

There has to be still a lot of sustainability in the existing business models of the gig economy. Neither of them provides extra benefits like paid leaves, insurance, etc., just like for permanent employees. Also, the wages are unpredictable for the gig workers. Thus the loyalty of the worker keeps on changing from platform to platform depending on employer-employee relation. The government can pass certain laws for gig workers for their over-all security.


Gig Economy is the business model to connect buyers and sellers mostly of all kinds of services and skills. It is recognized for its enormous potential with the desire of workers to have a flexible working culture, and the rise in the demand of consumers. In India, almost 80% of professionals have already used gig task at least once till now. With the advent in technology and the emergence of AI, this eco-system will continue to adapt, innovate, and expand beyond the existing models and will add significant revenue towards the countries growth and future of work.